As the title suggests, the job of a security consultant demands special requirements. There are several things that you learn with the passage of time and experience. However, some in hand technical knowledge is essential in pursuing a career.
Furthermore, appropriate hands-on experience will assist you in getting a good position and early promotions. The exact requirements could be different for different firms and organizations. However, few general requirements are as below:
Since the post is quite technical, you will need to learn a few hard skills. These skills include:
- Fluency in programming languages such as python, PHP, Java, C, C++, and C#
- Hands-on working experience on both Windows and Unix operating systems
- Able to implement and use intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems
- High-level expertise with the common compliance assessment such as HIPPA, GLBA, SOX, PCI, and NIST
- Fundamental knowledge of network concepts such as VLANs, VoIP, DNS and VPNs
- Understanding of secure coding, ethical hacking, and threat modeling
Along with these hard skills, to become a successful security consultant, you need some soft skills too. Moreover, this isn’t a one-man job.
Depending on the size and commitments of the firm, you will probably be working with a team.
Here is what you need to be a good team member:
- Team Management
- Leadership qualities
- Good communicator
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Critical and interpretation skills
Some of the hard skills mentioned above are quite difficult to attain in a short duration of time. However, if you have the right educational background, this might not be a new topic for you. Also, for soft skills, certain certifications or qualifications will be useful, if not compulsory.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, and information security, will help you to attain some of those hard skills. Moreover, during your bachelor’s degree, you will develop skills such as working in a team and communication skills.
Basically, all degrees that offer course work regarding computer and I.T, Information security, and programming languages can start your career as a security consultant. After that, a higher degree of education, such as a master’s and Ph.D. degree, will improve and polish your hard and soft skills.
During college, you should get involved in maximum projects and internships, and this hands-on experience will help you to solve critical problems. All these efforts will assist you in attaining knowledge and expertise to get your first job as a security consultant.
There is no set-in-stone progression of work experience required to become a security consultant. It all depends on the firm’s size and exact job responsibility. Desired experience varies from firm to firm; however, firms that require skillful staff will prefer individuals with at least five years of experience in the field of computer and information security.
Having said that, some companies might ask for less experience – one to two years, maybe. Basically, this depends on the job level. If it is an entry-level job, companies might hire individuals with zero to six months experience too.
If you have a degree in the relevant field and a little information security experience, you have a future in security consultancy.
If you are concerned about not having the right experience and skills, you can always get a relevant certification. These certifications will boost your career progression.
Even if you are already highly skilled, you should keep on getting these certifications. These will add colors to your profile, and you will get preference, among others.
Moreover, if you are looking for a specific post in some company, you can look at that specific employer’s job requirement. Then, whatever you lack in required skills, try to fill the gap with relevant certification and license.
If you are already serving at a good post, these certifications can help you refine your skills and stay updated on the latest ones.
For a successful career in security consultancy, you can consider getting these certifications:
- Certified ethical hacker, also called CEH
- Certified information systems security professional, or CISSP
- Offensive security certified professional, also known as OSCP
- Certified information system auditor (CISA)
- Certified information security manager (CISM)